Illuminate lights up the city as exciting new festival dazzles

A glimpse of some of the live animations that will be projected onto some of the city’s most iconic buildings, capturing snapshots of local history during the Illuminate.

Londonderry city center shone last night as the Illuminate took center stage, the first in a series of exciting festivals that will dazzle throughout 2022.

From the siege to the arrival of Amelia Earhart, this new event – a first in Derry City and the Strabane area – uses digital technology to bring to life some of the city’s most dramatic historical moments, from the siege to the arrival of Amelia Earhart, with two weekends of live installations, performances and music. to illuminate the fortified city on February 17-20 and 24-27.

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Funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Tourism’s Embrace A Giant Spirit campaign, the Illuminate project will bring the city center to life with a series of exciting outdoor activities complemented by a series of intimate live music performances. It’s also a time to celebrate the wealth of talent that makes the city a proud cultural hub, with an intimate live performance program led by Music Capital.

Exciting bands confirmed to perform at the festival include Kila, The Henry Girls and Aoife Scott. They will be joined by some of our top local artists including Glenn Rossborough, Rowe and John Deary and The Heads, Comrade Hat, Clodagh May Music, Kate O’Callaghan and Basork, promising to be an amazing music show. Artists will perform at intimate venues such as the City Hall, St. Augustine’s Church, Echo-Echo Studios and the Center for Contemporary Art.

Opening the City Hall event, which was dramatically brought to life through the magic of digital mapping, Mayor Alderman Graham Wark said he was pleased to see people’s trust returned. “Illuminate is a brand new experience that is unique to the city and has transformed downtown through the wonders of digital technology. I’m glad we were able to start our year of festivals so magically and see so many people here tonight.

“We’ve been through such a difficult time, it’s fantastic to see people regain confidence in events and that we can come together again to enjoy what we love the most. It is only fitting that the festival focuses on the theme of light as we emerge from what has been a period of true darkness for many people. This is a historic city steeped in culture and heritage, and Illuminate sheds light on all of these elements. I think it really captures our sense of the place and what makes this city’s history so special.”

Communities Minister Deidra Harji said: “The Illuminate Festival will bring much needed attendance to downtown Derry and provide a much needed boost to local retailers. I am delighted that my department was able to contribute to the COVID-19 Recovery Project, which aims to support the city and urban centers as they recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

NI Head of Tourism Ciaran Doherty said: “Events like this are critical to our local economy and help boost the profile of tourism in Northern Ireland. NI Tourism is pleased to support this exciting new addition to the Council’s innovative and exciting portfolio of events through our Market-Driven Product Development Program. I’m sure Illuminate will build on the success of the city’s Halloween experience and create new and exciting reasons to visit the area.”

More information about the full program, including traffic and travel information, is available at

Tickets for intimate music events are currently on sale and are expected to sell out quickly as they are limited in number. More information about concerts and how to book tickets can be found at

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